Highlights From Our Fall 2016 Lineup

Posted by Anna on August 25, 2016 at 11:03 am. Captioning

The fall season is always our busiest time around the office. There are so many great new and returning shows in 2016 that it would be difficult to list them all, but here are some that our production team couldn’t wait to work on.

Better Late Than Never – August 23rd – NBC

Brand new from NBC, Better Late Than Never follows Henry Winkler, William Shatner, Terry Bradshaw, and George Foreman as they travel across Asia with comedian Jeff Dye. Based on the wildly popular South Korean program Grandpas Over Flowers, it premiered earlier this week to 7.4 million viewers.

The cast of Better Late Than Never stands in an open street in China

The cast of Better Late Than Never stands in an open street in China

NBC Hell’s Kitchen – September 23rd – Fox

Gordon Ramsey fans will be delighted this September when Hell’s Kitchen returns for its 16th season. Contestants are gradually eliminated based on how they perform in challenges and dinner service until one chef is declared the winner.

Gordon Ramsey

Gordon Ramsey

Shameless – October 2nd – Showtime

Showtime’s hit dramedy typically premieres in January, but season 7 will be returning to the airwaves shortly on October 2nd.  The series follows alcoholic patriarch Frank Gallagher and his six children.

The Gallagher family stands in front of a plate glass window

The Gallagher family stands in front of a plate glass window

Frequency – October 5th – CW

After discovering she can speak to her deceased father through ham radio, Detective Raimy Sullivan enlists his help to work on an unsolved murder. The series was inspired by the 2000 film of the same name and was created by Supernatural executive producer Jeremy Carver.

Detective Raimy Sullivan sits in front of a ham radio

Detective Raimy Sullivan sits in front of a ham radio

2 Broke Girls – October 10th – CBS

Back for its 6th season, 2 Broke Girls returns to CBS with a 1-hour premiere in early October. Max and Caroline deal with breakups and friends’ babies as they manage their new role as part-owners of the diner.

Max, Caroline, and the gang stand around Sophie touching her pregnant belly.

Max, Caroline, and the gang stand around Sophie touching her pregnant belly.

To catch other premieres featuring CaptionMax captions and description, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

CaptionMax Consumer Advisory Board Member Presents At First Ever Caption Studies Conference

Posted by Anna on August 4, 2016 at 4:01 pm. Captioning, Consumer Advisory Board
Deb Fels with the caption,

Researcher Deb Fels with the caption, "Welcome to my talk, entitled Captioning and Inclusive Design."

Earlier this week, the very first U.S. Caption Studies Conference was held online, bringing together caption users, creators, advocates, and researchers to promote areas of progress and engagement within the community, as well as set up the following goals:

- establish/initially celebrate Caption Studies as an area of research, advocacy, and practice;

- provide a space for practitioners, researchers, and advocates to present and share their work where captioning is the primary, instead of being a secondary, focus;

- connect, network, energize, and build momentum for all of us to promote captioning in our diverse fields;

- understand, explore, discuss, and advocate for more effective legislation.

The conference was also designed to be a proof-of-concept for interest in further Caption Studies conferences, either virtual or in person, and serve as a model of accessibility in online communications and conferences.

Our very own Consumer Advisory Board member, Deb Fels, was one of the presenters at this groundbreaking conference.  Her talk, “Captioning and Inclusive Design” focused on the research she and her colleague Margot Whitfield have done with Enhanced Captioning at the Inclusive Media and Design Centre at Ryerson University in Toronto. Enhanced Captioning embraces creative strategies to make captions a more satisfying and enriching experience for viewers, including color, kinetic text, and emojis:

A woman sings to a man in front of her. A music symbol is in the top left corner. At the bottom, a caption that says, Ill ignore you and forget you, is encircled in light pink with a heart emoji at the beginning.

A woman sings to a man in front of her. A music symbol is in the top left corner. At the bottom, a caption that says, "I'll ignore you and forget you," is encircled in light pink with a heart emoji at the beginning.

Deb also gave a wonderful overview of Inclusive Design principles and the dramatic impact considering accessibility upstream in the creative process can have in making entertainment and educational content of greater benefit to all people.

We are very proud to have her on our board and were delighted to see her research elevated in the field of Caption Studies at this conference.

Meet Diane, First Place Winner In Our Just Add Words Video Description Contest!

Posted by Anna on July 28, 2016 at 9:00 am. Just Add Words, Video Describers, Video Description

This years First Place winner Diane Kollman

2016 First Place winner Diane Kollman

The results are in from this year’s Just Add Words competition! Meet, Diane Kollman, our first place winner who did a fabulous job describing this year’s short film, Canned:

How old are you?

I’m 23 going on 24 this September.

What is your occupation?

I am currently in-between jobs, although I have a side gig doing online tutoring in psychology and writing.

Do you have a writing background?

I earned my Bachelor of Arts in English and psychology with minors in professional writing and creative writing from The Ohio State University, so you could say I have a strong interest in writing! My life’s ambition is to become a fantasy author, and I enjoy seeking out writing contests like this one to test my skills.

What are your hobbies/interests?

Other than my obvious interest in writing and reading, I also love planning epic road trips, solving puzzles in escape rooms, and appreciating nature through geocaching.

Do you have any fun plans for your prize money?

My fiancé and I will be getting married next October, so I’ll be putting it all in the piggy bank for our honeymoon. A big thanks to the CaptionMax team for their generosity and commitment to providing accessible media!

To find out how you can add video description to your content, contact

Employee Spotlight: Elizabeth Rojas

Posted by Anna on July 12, 2016 at 10:47 am. Employee Spotlight
CaptionMax Superstar Elizabeth Rojas

CaptionMax Superstar Elizabeth Rojas

At CaptionMax, we believe that our greatest strength is our employees. They’re clever, creative, and we can’t wait for you to get to know them a little better. Elizabeth Rojas joined our Burbank office as an Offline Caption Editor in February 2006. In the ten years since, she has gone on to tackle the roles of Day Shift Supervisor, Project Manager, Client Services Manager, and now Account Manager:

What’s your favorite part of working at CaptionMax?

My favorite part of working at CaptionMax is definitely the people, hands down. We have some spectacular employees at this company. And also the really unexpected shows I would’ve never ever watched on my own, which taught me things I never even considered, like how to go Crossbow Hunting Fishing (you shoot fish with arrows while sitting in a rowboat, very intense).

What job did you want when you were 10 years old?

I wanted to be a book editor and read all day, as well as a ballerina, and a wedding dress model (no other collections – just straight wedding dress ballgowns only).

What’s one thing you couldn’t live without?

Books and cats. I can’t narrow down any of these answers to just one thing, clearly. Sorry!

Do you have any hidden talents?

Not really. I danced ballet and ballroom for a number of years, and played the violin, but those are not necessarily hidden talents so much as hobbies. And I’m super rusty at the violin by now.

What is your biggest hobby outside of work?

Reading while a cat naps in my hair.

If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be?

Okay, if I have the power to dine with the dead, then it follows that I ALSO have the power to throw a full dinner party. And the key to a good invitation list is including the right mix of personalities for engaging conversation, so I’d invite Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Joss Whedon, our own Jess Matelski who would murder me if I didn’t include her when Joss Whedon was over, J.K. Rowling, Shakespeare, Taylor Swift, Captain America, Colin Firth, Jane Austen, and because the rules of hosting an excellent Regency dinner party requires equal numbers of men and women, I’d add Capability Brown, just to mix it up a little. I’d title it the “Who Tells Your Story” Party.

What is your favorite TV show/movie?

My current favorite TV show is “Arrow,” mostly because I’m in love with Oliver and Felicity. But I also love “The Flash,” “Supergirl,” “iZombie,” and “Lucifer.” My all-time hands-down favorite is “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” And my favorite movie is the 2005 “Pride & Prejudice” starring Keira Knightley, just because it’s so incredibly pretty.

CaptionMax Hosts Open-Described Film Screening At 2016 ACB Convention

Posted by Anna on July 7, 2016 at 4:49 pm. Movies, Video Describers, Video Description
CaptionMax CEO Truck Morrison and head of Video Description Brian Gebhart introduce Shoulder The Lion

CaptionMax CEO Truck Morrison and head of Video Description Brian Gebhart introduce Shoulder The Lion

Last night, we hosted an open-described screening of acclaimed documentary Shoulder The Lion as a part of the 2016 ACB Convention that has been held here in Minneapolis all week.  This film is a visually rich exploration of the story of three artists who have lost a sense that defines their art, and it is some of the most challenging and rewarding work we have ever done in video description. It was an absolute delight to get such warm and affirming feedback from those in attendance. To watch the open described trailer, click here.

Brian talks with CaptionMax Quality Assurance Panel member Viola Cruz before the screening begins

Brian talks with CaptionMax Quality Assurance Panel member Viola Cruz before the screening begins

How To Celebrate The Fifth Annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Posted by Anna on May 18, 2016 at 12:00 pm. ADA, CVAA, Captioners, Captioning, DOJ, Video Description, WCAG
Global Accessibility Awareness Day logo against a cloudy blue sky

Global Accessibility Awareness Day logo against a cloudy blue sky

Tomorrow marks the fifth annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), and the story of how GAAD came to be is every bit as modern as the cause it champions:

“The idea of a Global Accessibility Awareness Day started with a single blog post written by a Los Angeles-based web developer,Joe DevonJennison Asuncion, an accessibility professional from Toronto discovered Joe’s blog post purely by accident thanks to Twitter. After reading it, he immediately contacted Joe and they joined forces, leveraging their extensive and respective networks to realize the event.”

Beginning in 2015, rather than using a fixed date, Devon and Asuncion decided to mark GAAD on the third Thursday of May. On their website, they provide a full list of in person and online events that the public is welcome to take part of.

At a time when website accessibility regulations are popping up everywhere, these events are a perfect opportunity to learn more about the future of online accessibility.

To learn how you can make your online video content accessible, contact

How To Write A Winning Entry For Just Add Words!

Posted by Anna on May 12, 2016 at 10:00 am. Just Add Words, Video Describers, Video Description

A man writes with a pen on lined notebook paper

A man writes with a pen on lined notebook paper

Thinking about entering our third annual Just Add Words Video Description Contest? Here are some tips for creating a winning entry:

Relevance of Detail

Writers should describe whatever information (settings, characters, actions, graphics, on-screen text, and other details) is most important for a blind viewer to understand what is happening in the program. Description should not duplicate any material that is already clear from the program’s dialogue or sound effects, such as “a woman laughs” or “the doorbell rang.”

Clarity of Description

Descriptions should be accurate and easy to visualize. Writers should remain as objective as possible and avoid adding their own opinions or interpretations.

Vividness of Language

Writers should bring the scene to life by using the active voice, precise verbs, and evocative diction.

Consistency of Mood

Writers should choose language that matches the mood, tone, and visual style of the program.

Timing and Readability

The descriptions must fit around the characters’ dialogue and within the total run time of the seen. They should be readable at a natural pace by voiceover talent. Try reading your entry along with the video and edit it down if necessary.

Finally, watch last year’s winners and learn! They did an amazing job.

Video description is an incredible assistive technology that allows blind and low-vision audiences to access a program’s visual content by translating images into words. To learn more about how to add content to your description, contact

NYC, Europe Enact Website Accessibility Standards

Posted by Anna on May 10, 2016 at 4:07 pm. ADA, Captioning, DOJ, Video Description, WCAG
Illustration of computer with WCAG and related accessibility symbols on it

Illustration of computer with WCAG and related accessibility symbols on it

2016 has already been a big year for creating regulations around website accessibility. In March, New York City became the first major municipality in the United States to adopt legislation mandating accessibility standards for all of its government agency websites. The New York City government serves over 8 million people and employs approximately 325,000 for its 120+ agencies.

The law recognizes that Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA (”WCAG 2.0 AA”) is quickly becoming the international standard for website accessibility.  While the Department of Justice has continually delayed setting legally-required standards for state and local governments under Title II of the ADA, as well as public accommodations (which encompasses private businesses) under Title III, it has strongly indicated through investigations, settlements, and court filings over the last 5 years that websites will be deemed “accessible” if they are compliant with WCAG 2.0 AA standards.

The law requires that the City establishes a website protocol within 6 months. If the City chooses to adopt a protocol that differs from WCAG 2.0 AA, “it must first consult with experts in website design, conduct a public hearing, and ensure that any differences will still provide effective communication for persons with disabilities.”

Last week, more than three years after its proposal, members of the European Parliament, Council, and Commission agreed on the first EU-wide rules to make public sector websites and mobile apps more accessible:

The Directive will cover public sector bodies’ websites and mobile apps, from administrations, courts and police departments to public hospitals, universities and libraries. It will make them accessible for all citizens – in particular for the blind, the hard of hearing, the deaf, and those with low vision and with functional disabilities.”

The EU web accessibility policy requires that “top-level” EUROPA pages, as well as all new EUROPA pages and sub-sites should meet the WCAG 2.0 AA standards. They are currently working to bring as many lower-level pages as possible up to that same standard.

While WCAG 2.0 AA standards apply to many different aspects of websites, these are the guidelines for video content:

Level A (Beginner)

To conform to Level A guidelines, online content producers must provide the following:

Offline Captions Pre-recorded video content with audio must have closed captions.

Video Description Pre-recorded video content with audio must have video description OR text video description (media alternative) that is accessible using screen reader technology.

Level AA (Intermediate)

To conform to Level AA guidelines, online content producers must provide what is listed in Level A, as well as:

Live Captions Live streaming videos must have closed captions.

Video Description Pre-recorded video content with audio must have video description.

To find out more about how you can make your online video content compliant with these standards, contact

FCC Proposes Rules to Expand Video Description Access

Posted by Anna on April 5, 2016 at 9:00 am. CVAA, FCC, Video Describers, Video Description
Video Description Symbol In White And Gray Tones

Video Description Symbol In White And Gray Tones

On April 1, 2016, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to expand the availability of video described programming. Video description makes video programming accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired by enabling audio-narration to describe key visual elements of a television program during pauses in the dialogue. This came shortly after the Disability Advisory Council Video Programming Subcommittee presented a list of issues to be considered should the FCC decide to issue a NPRM of this type.

The FCC proposes the following key rule changes:

Increase the amount of described programming on each included network carried by a covered broadcast station or multichannel video programming distributor, from 50 hours per calendar quarter to 87.5 (a 75% increase);

Increase the number of networks required to provide video description from four broadcast and five non-broadcast networks to five broadcast and ten non-broadcast networks;

Create a “no-backsliding” rule, so a network would remain subject to the rules even if it is no longer one of the top five or top ten ranking networks; and

Require video programming distributors to provide proper customer support contacts in order to improve consumer access to video description.

The NPRM also seeks comment on other matters, such as a potential requirement for described video-on-demand programming, a dedicated audio stream for video description, and a change of terminology from “video described” to “audio described.”

Comment and reply comment due dates will be announced once the Notice is published in the Federal Register.

To find out more about how you can have your program video described, contact your CaptionMax representative or

Just Add Words Video Description Contest Returns In May!

Posted by Anna on March 31, 2016 at 11:00 am. Captioning

Just Add Words Video Description Contest

Just Add Words Video Description Contest

In 2014, CaptionMax held its first annual video description contest, Just Add Words. Just Add Words was designed as a fun and engaging way to educate people about video description and what a valuable service it is to blind and low-vision audiences.  Video description bring to life the key visual images, body language, and visual expressions necessary to understand a program’s content using language that is age-appropriate and objective.

Signed into law in 2010, the 21st Century Communications & Video Act outlines a bright future for video description.  Currently the top 4 broadcast channels and the top 5 cable channels in the top 60 most populated markets in the country must provide 4 hours per week of video description. After 2020, the law gives the FCC the right to further expand the service to 10 new markets yearly until 100% nationwide coverage is achieved.

The 3rd annual Just Add Words contest is happening soon and will run through the entire month of May, overlapping with Global Accessibility Awareness Day on the 19th. You’ll have to stay tuned to learn more details, but in the meantime, check out last year’s winners and get inspired to describe!

To learn how you can have video description added to your program, contact



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